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Old 03-14-12, 10:14 PM   #1
RobertSmalls
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Default 2012 garden is underway

Our goal for the garden this year is to have a variety of fresh veggies available during as much of the year as possible. Therefore, we're planting about 30 different crops. Following the advice of "Crockett's Victory Garden" (a book which I recommend), we're staggering our planting, sowing a few seeds each week. It's a much more ambitious garden than last year's. I'm happy to report that, at ~600ft², it takes up almost all of the back yard.

It's usually cold and sometimes snowy in March, but we've sown some frost-tolerant vegetables in our garden. Radishes and turnips mature very quickly, and they'll be out of the way by the time the tomatoes and peppers are ready to go in. We've begun sowing leeks, spinach, and leaf lettuces outdoors as well. I'm planning to plant the same frost-tolerant crops in late fall, and harvest them throughout the winter.

Other crops I'm looking forward to are berries, an apple tree (germinated last week), broccoli, onions, cabbage, and potatoes. Because it's less expensive and more rewarding, I'll start everything from seed that I can.

This garden is plenty ambitious enough for this year. But if I had more land, I'd be tempted to try to grow wheat, pears, sugar maple, and walnut. More land's not in the cards, though. I'm happy in the city.

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Old 03-14-12, 10:34 PM   #2
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It's cool to hear about your early start. The ground here is soggy still and we've got plenty of time until last frost. I'll have to check out the book because it would be nice to start something frost tolerant or have something frost tolerant into winter, especially after last year, very early September frost in MN. Fruit trees are the only frost tolerant things I've had in consideration so far but I don't mind getting seeds started now for when the ground can be worked with a shovel here. I had enough trouble with a 10x15 poorly dug excuse for a rectangle last year. 600 sq ft is huge, I don't think I could dig that by hand.

Apple trees are rarely grown by seed, usually the root system of another tree is grafted to an Apple cutting because the root system of Apple trees don't develop well. You might need to research what other types of tree work well for this. If not, you might end up with a small weak tree that might have trouble supporting fruit. There's no reason not to give it a shot though. Either way, keep us posted how it does.

I'm going to get seed starting in peat soon, I just found my cantaloupe seeds today(been looking for awhile) and I think I know where my leftover carrots seeds are.

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Old 03-16-12, 12:42 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MN Renovator View Post
Apple trees are rarely grown by seed, usually the root system of another tree is grafted to an Apple cutting because the root system of Apple trees don't develop well. You might need to research what other types of tree work well for this. If not, you might end up with a small weak tree that might have trouble supporting fruit. There's no reason not to give it a shot though. Either way, keep us posted how it does.
As I understand it, the issue with apple trees is that 99% of the time they don't grow true to seed. More often an apple seed will produce a crab apple tree. The other issue is that it can take 5-10 years from seed to an apple tree that can bear fruit.

FWIW,
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Old 03-16-12, 10:30 AM   #4
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I looked up that Crockett's Victory Garden. Apparently he had a tv show on PBS way back when the info they put on tv was real and not stupid like it is now. I was reading people were saying they wish they could buy it on dvd but that it's not being released. Sucks. I may just have to buy that book. I just remembered my aunt gave me a bunch of gardening books, I'll check her stuff first, there may be a gem in there that I didn't notice.
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Old 03-17-12, 11:49 AM   #5
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I went and read up a little on apple trees. The fruiting parts are usually cloned by grafting cuttings onto established, hardy donor trees. Oh well. Perhaps what I'm growing will be suitable root stock.

Speaking of gardening, most of the trees in the backyard have ugly brown growths on them. Here's a photo from last year. Any thoughts on what, if anything, I should do about it?

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Old 05-10-12, 10:54 PM   #6
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The radishes were a big success. It's harvest time already, which means the land they were on is ready for higher-value crops like tomatoes and potatoes.

I've been reading Louise Riotte's "Carrots Love Tomatoes", a guide to companion planting. Some plants have a synergistic effect when planted in the same bed, resulting in higher yield from a tiny garden. Good companion plants usually occupy different soil strata, have leaves that don't shade one another due to differences in height or timing, and/or repel one another's pests.

Last weekend, I reviewed climate predictions and the extended forecast, and decided that last frost was most likely behind us in Buffalo. We sowed corn, and it's exciting to watch, as it's growing visibly every day. This weekend, we'll transplant tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and other warm weather crops.

I'm getting ideas about what improvements I want next year: permanent beds, automatic drip irrigation, and some permanent crops like shallots and asparagus.
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Old 06-05-12, 08:16 PM   #7
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Let's see if this photo works:

I counted 28 different crops in place. There's nothing more to plant until August, when the winter cold-hardy crops go in. We've harvested onion greens, lettuce (both ongoing), turnips, spinach, and radish so far.
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Old 06-06-12, 07:20 PM   #8
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Nice! My little garden patch is just 4'x8' and I have 5 "crops" and 2 flowers (an attempt to do some bug control). So far the only thing that looks like anything is three potato plants (out of 10 that I planted) -- they are about 16" high, while everything else is just sprouting or not even up yet.
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Old 06-11-12, 05:42 PM   #9
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Below is a quick list of vegetable cold hardiness to help you decide when to fall plant, when to harvest in the fall before that cold snap arrives, and when to plant in the spring.

http://www.southernexposure.com/grow...uick-guide.pdf
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Old 06-25-12, 08:00 PM   #10
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June update: I had really gotten used to home-grown lettuce, but it looks like it's almost played out. Other spring crops are done, too. Summer crops are not ready to harvest, with the exception of three Hungarian Wax peppers. Some very brave bug ate a hole in one of the peppers. If you're tough enough to eat your weight in peppers, more power to you.

The corn is looking great, herbs are plentiful, and the brassica are coming along nicely.

Members of the cucumber/squash/melon family are not doing quite as well. I sowed seeds three weeks ago, and nothing has come up. I dug a few up to see what was going on, and I found the seeds had split open at the pointy end like they do when germinating. However, there was absolutely nothing inside the seed coat. Did these guys get eaten alive?

@Basjoos: Thank you for the data. For those who garden with a meat thermometer, here's another handy site: Temperature effect on vegetable seeds - percentage germination

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